A brace from Odion Ighalo saw Watford romp to a 3-0 win over a troubled Liverpool at Vicarage Road on Sunday to climb to with one point of the Premier League's top four.
- Watford 3 Liverpool 0
- Ake pounces on Bogdan howler
- Ighalo powers home hosts' second
- Nigerian seals the deal late on
Watford were gifted the opening goal with just over two minutes gone on the clock as Liverpool debutant Adam Bogdan, in for the dropped Simon Mignolet, produced an atrocious piece of goalkeeping from a corner, fumbling a routine catch to allow Nathan Ake to score his first competitive goal for the Hornets.
The away fans were left speechless after 15 minutes as Watford grabbed their second, Troy Deeney playing a ball over the top for Ighalo to chase, with the Nigerian eventually outmuscling Martin Skrtel before firing across goal and into the bottom corner of the net.
Bogdan would eventually make some amends for his earlier error after thwarting Ighalo one-on-one just after the hour mark, although the Super Eagles striker would eventually have the last laugh, rounding off a fine team move by heading home the hosts' third goal in the final four minutes.
The result means Jurgen Klopp's men have now failed to win any of their last four matches, leaving them ninth in the Premier League standings and five points adrift of fourth.
Watford, meanwhile, find themselves in the lofty heights of seventh, unbelievably just one point behind Manchester United and Tottenham for the final Champions League qualifying position of fourth.
The Reds got off to the worst possible start as they found themselves trailing after just two minutes, with Bogdan's first touch as a Liverpool player proving one he will never forget, but for all the wrong reasons as he dropped a routine save from a corner into the path of Ake, whose hard work had won the set-piece, with the defender acting quickest to turn home the loose ball.
Vicarage Road was soon rocking as the hosts went two up, Deeney winning possession in the midfield before dinking a ball over the top of the Liverpool defence, with Ighalo powering through and shrugging off Skrtel before driving a shot into the ground and beyond the grasp of Bogdan.
Bogdan almost again proved the Reds' undoing just after the half-hour mark as he came to punch a delivery from out wide, but ended up clearing straight into Mamadou Sakho, who was hugely relieved to see Skrtel on the line to hack clear the ricochet.
The visitors were dealt a big blow before half-time as Skrtel needed to be taken off with a back injury, although his replacement, Divock Origi, looked lively after the restart, first teeing up for Adam Lallana's volley which was blocked on the line before breaking in behind the defence and forcing a save from Bogdan.
Watford looked for all the world like they would score number three with 62 minutes gone as a slip at the back from Sakho allowed Ighalo to gallop clean through on goal, but Bogdan was off his line in a flash before producing a stunning one-handed save to force the forward's effort up and over the crossbar.
At the other end and it was Heurelho Gomes' chance to impress, and the goalkeeper did just that to get fingertips on Jordan Henderson's looped effort to just flick the ball over the bar.
The Hornets probably should have killed the game off with 15 minutes remaining as Ighalo led a counter attack three-on-three, but the forward eventually picked the wrong pass, dinking a cross into no-man's land to leave a few moans and groans creeping around Vicarage Road.
However, the Nigerian was soon back in the home fans' good books as Watford carved open the Reds defence with some slick passing football, with Valon Behrami eventually picking out a peach of a delivery to find Ighalo, who powerfully headed home between the goalkeeper's legs.